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For the love of cocktails!

The weekend is here!  And what better way to bring in the weekend than a cocktail!  It may be winter, but that doesn't mean you can't enjoy a bit of summer in a drink!

This one had me at lychees.  It looks goooood!


Ingredients

5-6 fresh mint leaves
2-3 fresh lychees (or canned)
1/2 tsp superfine sugar
15 ml fresh lime juice
15 ml simple sugar syrup
50 ml good gin
25 ml sparkling water
Ice

Method

In a cocktail shaker, muddle mint leaves and 1/2 of the sliced lychee with 1/2 tsp of superfine sugar.  Add lime juice, syrup gin and ice.  Shake well and strain into a chilled glass.  Top up with sparkling water (or soda) and garnish with lychees and mint.

You could change around the quantities of lime and gin to suit you tastes (and desired drink strength!).

Cheers! xx

Recipe originally from Kiss My Spatula

Bedroom Envy : Drifter and the Gypsy

Have you seen the blog Drifter and the Gypsy yet?  If not, you must check it out.  It's a treasure trove of  creativity and inspiration.

And when Micaela shared her bedroom in a recent post we fell in love with it's warmth and special little touches.  I don't know about you, but I'd love to have a bedroom like that.  It's loved, it's liveable, it's quirky and cool.




GET THE LOOK : INSPIRED BY MICAELA'S BEDROOM


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For the love of eating : Preserved Lemon Cupcakes

For this week's recipe, we are going to hear from one of our gorgeous sellers.  Ayra from Spice & Rind shares with us her recipe for Preserved Lemon Cupcakes, made from her own preserved lemons which are available on DTLL!



Ingredients
250g butter, softened
2 cups (400g) caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
4 eggs
3 cups (450g) plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 cup (250ml) milk

Butter Cream Frosting
200g butter, softened
1kg icing sugar mixture
1/2 cup (125ml) milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
preserved lemon rind (washed and chopped finely) - to taste.  You can get yours here.  

Method
  1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Line twenty-four 1/3-cup (80ml) capacity muffin pans with paper cases.
  2. Use an electric mixer to beat the butter, sugar and vanilla bean paste until pale and creamy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well between each addition. Add the flour, baking powder and milk, in alternate batches, and stir with a wooden spoon until just combined.
  3. Spoon mixture evenly among the lined pans and smooth the surface. Bake in preheated oven for 15-20 minutes or until cooked through. Remove from oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  4. To make the butter cream frosting, use an electric mixer to beat the butter until very pale. Gradually add the icing sugar, beating well between each addition. Add the milk and vanilla extract and beat until well combined. Mix in preserved lemon rind. Add enough to suit your taste.
  5. Use a round-bladed knife or pallet knife to spread icing over each cake. Decorate each cake with little pieces of preserved lemon rind.

Thank you so much to Ayra for sharing this one!  I am a HUGE fan of all things lemon (our wedding cake was lemon cake), so I'll be trying this one out asap.

Happy cooking!

Chasing Dreams : My Story


A beautiful girl called Sonia from Love Life and Hiccups asked me to write a post for her a few weeks back and I thought I would share it again here as it is a subject I am often asked about... Why did I start DTLL? How did I start DTLL? and was it a big leap of faith to do so?

So chasing dreams huh?.. wowsers its is a huge choice that so many people come across and often never even get close to addressing. I have had so many ideas over my lifetime , seen, thought OMG that would be fab in Aus.. I should do that.. then gone nah.. too hard basket.. so what happened with DTLL? Why was that not swept under the carpet along with the others?

DTLL had that last little ingredient that tipped me over the edge, it had an added dose of desire that made me passionate. I was always a book marker, I just couldn't help myself. When I found something unique to buy on line. I saved it to come back too, I mean what if it hadn't been able to find it again?! Oh the travesty!

My speciality is gathering unusual gifts and home d├ęcor. I adore buying presents as I always have something in mind that suits the recipient regardless of budget limitations and my friends were always asking for recommendations. I had so many mini fist pump moments when they then bought those suggested products or someone asked me where I got the present that I bought their child as they wanted to buy one for someone else. 

It was a lightbulb moment that maybe I could turn something I loved doing and loved sharing into something that everyone could also grow to love. I researched and realised there wasn’t any one site to send them which guaranteed finding the sort of  gifts and home wares that I would be happy to recommend.

I went to a couple of web developers for quotes and whilst that initially scared me into stepping back and thinking about things for another month, I then went back to my boys and really sat down and got to the nitty gritty of exactly what I wanted the site, how it would function and most importantly how much it would cost to create that. 

The quote was high, the build was our family nest egg, it was all our savings and I would not be earn a wage for the whole 6 months it took to develop and at least the next year post launch. Again hubby and I sat down, did more research. The more I researched, the more I bookmarked and the more I bookmarked, the more I knew I wanted this SOOO bad. My gut NEVER said No, never not once and whilst I have no doubt my husband was nervous he never showed it and he backed me 100% saying he believed I could do it and he knew I would make it happen if I wanted it bad enough. 

So I hit the build button and there was no turning back.

From the look and feel of the website…to the font, logo, and colours…I knew exactly what I wanted in the DTLL site. In October 2011 we sent out personal invitations to the gorgeous stores I had been bookmarking all those years. Using the treasured places I spent many years sourcing, I gathered them all in one place. I then added the fun elements of wish lists and collections and in Nov 2011 Down that Little Lane went LIVE
So has it been worth it? Is the "chasing dreams" notion a totally ludicrous one?. 
It takes courage, it takes desire, it takes a support and it takes a HUGE amount if hard work. Hard work? 
WTF? What harder than what you do now?  
Yes most likely but the major part that makes the difference is that the hard work is all for YOU, it is what YOU desire and it is what YOU wanted so somehow the work is just so much more enjoyable. 
The rewards and pride are all there for yours to take all 100% off it as you created it by the choices you made

It has not been easy, in actual fact it has been 10x harder that I thought (and I am a hard worker) but the pride I have for what little old me created is just chest bulglingly amazing. The relationships and friendships I have formed with other SAHWM's is heartwarming and THE best and above all I am my own boss. I dictate how my day runs and what paths are taken and for what reasons. I am now even a boss to others and I have beautiful, loyal and grateful Mums that work with me on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, our Blog and Newsletters

A wise lady recently said to me " the very definition of a woman wanting to 'have it all' is when she wants to be a working mum AND a stay-at-home mum at the same time" she was right but I did and I do and I could not be happier that I chased my dreams.. You have to try don't you? 

With Down that Little Lane I just couldn't have sat there two years later thinking what if ?

There are so many quotes I have up my sleeve these days about what I have done. I have need to have my mantras to keep reminding me that this is something not everyone does and is something I should be very proud about but my favourite would have to be the 3 C's

"You have to have courage, to take a chance, to make a change"..

So that's me and my chasing dreams story. I am a great ambassador for it these days and have ideas for businesses of all styles and sizes. If you need advice, contacts or just a good kick up the butt.. email me as I am happy to provide any or all of the above x

A Fabulous Foxy Birthday

We are quite a bit in love with all things fox here at DTLL.  So when one of our beautiful customers, Rebecca, held a fox themed birthday party for her two little ones, we just had to share it with you all.

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The party was in honour of Leni and Raff for their 4th and 2nd birthday respectively. They have their birthday 10 days apart in May so for Rebecca, it made sense to have a combined birthday at their ages while most of their friends are still through the couple's friends' kids.

"We borrowed a jumping castle from my sis-in-law, our backyard already has a cubby and then I organised some games like pin the tail on the fox and every child got a handmade fox mask attached to a bag full of stickers to decorate and then run around in for the day. So there was lots for the kids older and younger to be entertained with." Rebecca said.

The fox theme came about from Leni's love of foxes. Rebecca tells us that she has been, shall we say 'obsessed' by them since her grandma wrote a story for her about a fox she saw at her house one night. This love of foxes eventually rubbed off on Raff from all the 'foxy' things that kept coming into their house - from books, to hair clips and little ornament/toys from local shops in Bendigo.  
We can totally relate Leni!

Rebecca is a graphic designer/art director so as soon as the theme was decided she went to work planning the party.  "I prob did it over a few months just collecting ideas etc. One of the first purchases was Leni's fox dress from DTLL.  Leni got it for her birthday as a present (along with a bunny rabbit which she named 'Foxy' - love at first sight as you can see in the pic!!!)"she said. 






Rebecca designed the invitations, signage, lolly bag labels and made the fox masks for decorating. She decorated the table from hessian and then foliage from our garden for the greenery. She then collected some leaves and pine cones with the kids from an autumn oak tree to add to the tables.

And that cake? Wow! Rebecca's good friend Nicole Curnow from Bake Me I'm Yours made the cake. Rebecca told us "She only had the invite to work from and a brief of 'I trust you - go nuts'. She seriously out did herself. Not only did this cake look amazing but it also tasted amazing. Rainbow cake with white chocolate ganache in between each layer…yummy! The kids had great delight in eating it - as did the adults!"

The fox 'softie dolls' were a gift from Nicole to the kids through her other business. We at DTLL believe she is more than just a little bit talented... and yes Tessa is off to track her down!!

Isn't it just the most magical party!


Get the Look : Fabulous Foxes


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Make your own cake stand!

There is something both satisfying and special about making something.  You can look at the various pieces in your home with fondness, but it's the ones that you make with your own two hands that hold a special place in your heart.

And now thanks to the gorgeous Jane at Twiceloved China, you can now make your own cake stand!

The kits are available in both gold and silver and from now until Sunday 23rd June, they are on sale for $24.99 (normally $29.99).  A wonderful way to use your beautiful old china, or the perfect gift for someone special.

You can buy yours here.  And don't forget to send us a photo of your creations!



For the love of eating : 1 minute chocolate cake

Chocolate cake in one minute?

Oh yes!  We did just say that.  And I bet that after you read this post, you'll be quickly checking you have all the ingredients.  Because chocolate cravings just got a whole lot sweeter!



What you'll need

4 tbs all-purpose flour
4 tbs sugar
3 tbs unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg
3 tbs milk
1 tbs vegetable oil

How to make it

1. Mix together flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder and salt.
2. Stir in egg, milk and vegetable oil.
3. Pour mixture into a single coffee mug, or two ramekins (make sure they are microwaveable).
4. Microwave on high for 1 minute and 30 seconds in a lightly-greased mug, or 45 seconds in a ramekin.
5.  Pour yourself a cuppa, and sit back enjoy... you've just made the easiest, and quickest dessert ever!




Let us know how you go!


*This is a recipe Tessa saw in a magazine while she was in a cafe months ago

Get the Look : Denim

Denim.  Classic.  A wardrobe staple.  Those blue jeans will never go out of style!

When we saw this blog post by one of our favourite designers, Tamara Maynes who was designing a custom piece for one of our other design crushes, Jane Frosh, we got inspired.

Just look at this dress...


Yep - it's not just a dress - it's a piece of art.  Tamara made this from over 50 pairs of second hand jeans and it took 60 hours to make... Inspiring!

And thanks to this dress, our love of all things denim grew by a gazillion percent!  

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Are you a lover of denim too?


Oh so London Town..


I came across the Tweed Run over at Park & Cube and my heart a skipped a beat, not only is it in my home town which clearly tugs on my heart strings but it is traditional yet modern, unique and all class (just like me, of course, ba ha ha). I am partial to a vintage bike  and rather like the odd G&T so this looks like it could be an event I simply MUST attend..







Do we have anything like this in Australia? Should we start one? I think it would be amazing in Melbourne!!

Get the Look : Tweed Run


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Babymugging : Have you joined the craze?

Babymugging - have you heard of it?  It's a little trend taking Instagram by storm and has to be one of the cutest things to go viral in a long time.  You can read all about it here.




All you need is a baby, an iPhone, a few moments of time and a beautiful mug (and we can help you there!).  Get snapping.  And don't forget to tag us @downthatlittlelaneshop.



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Stills : A Weekly Collection









: Butter and Soup, a match made in heaven

: Playground light..its a joy to watch them play and the sunlight makes it just that much more enjoyable

: Playing at 7 Vignettes again.. this was 'edible'

: Playing Fat Mum Slim Photoaday this was 'what was on my table'

: Those little cars.. best $2 I ever spend each fortnight

: Our blackboard is filled with so many little words these days, private memories for me from Kitty

: Its been juicing central here, fabulous greens, lots of lemons and great flavours..

: Our globe is changing..literally and metaphorically

Linking up with Em and her brood :)



For the love of eating : Ice Cream Bread

Ok so I may be outrageously late on the uptake but I have never heard of Ice Cream Bread and it certainly didn't seem like something I would try and make.. BUT.. two ingredients, mix together and bake was something I could not pass up.





So.. what to do? 
1. buy awesome ice cream and set oven to 180 degrees C
2. grab 2 cups out of it and let soften
3. mix together with 1 1/2 cups of self raising flower and top with some ground biscuits
4. put it in a lined bread tin
5. bake for 40-45 mins, cut and demolish!!

New in Store : Kiddlywinx get lucky

Playhouses are always going to stand the test of time, my kids have had one since turning 1 yr old and stil use it 5 yrs on... It has been a train, a tent, a spaceship, Mickey Mouse's Clubhouse and so many more..

DTLL has just had a few new ones added to our kids section that we just had to share..

For your little pirates

a princess castle

made to match any decor and one for the boys..

and I am not sure if you are like me but I love retro for nurseries as it can travel through all the way to a teenager if done well... well this store has the retro look at an affordable price.. $39 a cushion.. awesome..